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309 Winery promises fun, food and wine

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By John Barnhart

 Peggy Overstreet and Scott Taylor promise fun, food and wine at 309 Winery. The new business opened its doors at the end of April in the historic Wharton Cottage, located at 309 North Bridge Street.

    It’s an eclectic business: You can buy wine and beer there; you can buy Gross’ Orchard products; you can buy local art and locally made jewelry.
    “We are trying to do everything local,” Overstreet said,
    The main emphasis, however, is 309’s restaurant and their wine sales.
    The restaurant features a full menu, with items that Taylor asserts are unique to 309. One is a muffaletta.
    “It’s a New Orleans sandwich,” said Taylor when asked about the offering.  A muffaletta has Italian meats topped by provolone and chopped olives marinated in garlic and olive oil.
    “There is no place around here that has a muffaletta,” Taylor asserted.
    Another item that’s unique to 309 Winery is an Italian Beef au Jus sandwich which, according to Taylor, is a sandwich style that comes from Chicago. Taylor said that, to his knowledge, there is no other place in town that has this.
    Taylor, who is the 309’s chef, said that they are always on the alert for new menu items, and will also cook something up to order. One of these “cook to order” requests has already landed as a regular menu item. It’s called “Maria’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese” and, according to Taylor, is named for an elderly Elks Home resident who asked for it. It has provolone, tomato and bacon on toasted ciabatta.
    The ownership also wants to keep prices reasonable.
    “You can eat a real good meal here for under $10,” said Overstreet.
    Taylor said that the restaurant leans toward offering the healthy side in menu items. It doesn’t offer food that is deep fried and salt isn’t added to its food.
    The house wine selection is extensive and served by the 6 oz. glass. A variety of beer is available including high quality imports and domestic craft beers. One of the newest craft beers is called Heavy Seas. Taylor said that it’s brewed in Baltimore, according to Doug John’s recipe. It’s a spicy, aromatic, moderately dark brew with a clean, crisp taste.
    309 Winery also carries Iron City beer. Taylor said that the restaurant has had a lot of interest in this beer from local Pittsburgh Steelers fans, so they carry it.
    “We get a lot of call for Iron City,” Taylor said.
    309 is open to customer requests. The restaurant has a variety of wine sold by the bottle for carry out consumption and Taylor said that they will order any wine that a customer wants, if that is possible within Virginia’s distribution laws. All of 309’s beer is also available for carry out.
    Overstreet and Taylor know what they are selling.
    “We’ve tasted just about everything in here,” Taylor said. “We are not going to put out a cheap product,”
    Along with alcoholic beverages, including a sparkling hard cider, 309 Winery offers a line of soda called Maine Root. It comes in root beer, ginger, lime and blueberry flavors. All flavorings are natural.
    309 has multiple small dining rooms, each named after a type of wine. The smallest, the Shiraz room, overlooks the Wharton Garden. 309 is a WiFi hot spot and the rooms have electrical outlets that guests can plug in their laptops. The rooms are also open for small group events and Overstreet said that there is no charge for the use of the room. The smallest room holds up to 12 people and the largest up to 23.
    309 Winery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m on Sundays and Wednesday through Thursday. It is open from 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
    Business has been good so far. Overstreet said that the Welcome Center and the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce have been helpful sending people their way. They are also in a good position to get tourist traffic from people coming into Bedford from the Peaks of Otter.
    Future plans include eventually being able to market their own wine. They also would like to eventually add a deck behind the building so that guests can dine and enjoy the Wharton Garden outside during warm weather. The Wharton Garden also figures in another part of their future plans. Overstreet and Taylor are engaged and plan to hold their wedding there.